A House Democrat says there are between 40 and 50 House Republicans who will support immigration reform—more than enough GOP support for it to pass.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) told The Washington Post that many of the supportive Republicans are staying quiet because they don’t want to be named.
“Some of them I’ve spoken to, and they say, ‘Love to do the activity with you, I want to be able to vote for it, I really don’t need to draw attention to myself at this point,’ but we can count on it,” Gutierrez told the Post, although he added, “If they ask me today, go find those 40 to 50 Republicans, I’ll tell them I found them. I know where they’re at.”
Gutierrez predicted only a handful of House Democrats would vote against immigration legislation that includes a pathway to citizenship for the country’s estimated 11 million illegal immigrants, according to The Hill, noting that only three Democrats voted for legislation this year to force President Barack Obama to deport illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.
Even though the Senate passed the immigration bill, the House hasn’t voted on it because it doesn’t satisfy the Hastert Rule — a procedure that, if followed, prevents bills from being brought to the floor unless they have a majority of support from the majority party.
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), an ally of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), has said the Senate bill wouldn’t pass in the House if it was brought to a vote, the Post reports.
But if Boehner doesn’t enforce the Hastert Rule—which he has insisted he will uphold— and all 201 House Democrats back an immigration bill, it would require only 17 Republican votes to pass, the Post notes.
Gutierrez told the Post he has support from at least 195 House Democrats, which would translate to 23 Republican votes needed to pass immigration reform without the Hastert Rule in effect.
This post has been updated.